Sweet and sour

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Four major sugar companies filed a lawsuit last week in Washington, D.C., federal court to stop the government from buying the 50,000 acre Talisman property north of the Everglades. The land is owned by St. Joe Corp. and includes a sugar refinery. Environmentalists fought for the purchase in hope that the land would shield the Everglades from the industry's pesticide runoff.

The sugar companies -- Atlantic Sugar Association, Okeelanta Sugar Corp., Osceola Farms Co. and the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative -- joined by the sugar-dependent towns of Belle Glade and Pahokee say the federal government didn't take into account the economic impact of the buyout. The suit also says "the Department of Interior did not analyze the potential adverse environmental effects of using the acquired land for water storage." The plaintiffs say the plan will be worse for the Everglades than leaving things as they are.

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